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Apple event today: Five non-iPhone things to watch for

Apple is unveiling the new crop of iPhones today but don't get too distracted by shiny new things, because you might miss important clues as to where the industry is headed.

It's easy to get overly focused on shiny new iPhones and tune out other important things that Apple talks about during the launch event. Here are the five other things to pay attention to during today's iPhones unveiling.

1: How much pressure is Apple feeling from Samsung and the Note 9?

The Note 9 is, from a technological standpoint, quite a smartphone, and in many ways brings things to the table that no iPhone has yet managed.

Also: Apple Sept. 12 iPhone XS event: Watch live here at 9 a.m. PT, noon ET

While it's unlikely that anyone from Apple would mention the Note 9 or any other competing smartphone by name, it will be interesting to see how Apple presents the iPhone's storage capacities and battery life in relation to the competitor.

Will there be mention of "all-day battery" and massive storage capacities, or will Apple pretend like the Note 9 doesn't exist?

2: The future of AR

Apple has talked a lot about AR ( Augmented Reality) during past events, but right now the technology is limited to a few apps, and involves awkwardly waving your iPhone about.

Will Apple try to push this technology forward a notch or two, or is it a lost cause?

3: Focused or scatter-gun?

There are rumors circulating that Apple will use the iPhone event to not only unveil new iPhones and an updated Apple Watch, but also new Apple TV devices, AirPower charger, new AirPods, iPad Pros, MacBooks, and a Mac mini.

No matter how you cut it, that would be an incredibly packed event. On the one hand it would allow Apple to do one big refresh before the holiday season gets underway, but on the other hand, it would risk diluting the important takeaway from the iPhone launch event (which is "buy an iPhone").

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How Apple frames this event will give us an insight into how Apple feels about the next product cycle. Is Apple confident that the iPhone is a winner no matter how little (or how much) time it spends on it during the launch event, or will Apple want to play it safe and have a separate hardware unveiling for macs and iPad Pros later this year?

4: Will Apple finally launch the AirPower wireless charger?

Apple first teased us with the all-in-one AirPower wireless charger a year ago? If this is unveiled today, then updated AirPods featuring a wireless charging case are also likely to launch.

If the AirPower wireless charger doesn't launch today, then it raises some serious questions about Apple's ability to deliver on its promises (a year's delay on its own also does that, but an AirPower launch would finally draw a line under it).

5: Will Apple bring up the issue of tariffs?

"Tariff" is a word that's being thrown around a lot these days, and Apple is clear in its position that imposing tariffs is both bad, and will add to the cost of some of its products, and that the biggest burden of the tariffs would fall heaviest on the US and not China.

Will Apple feel bullish enough to take on the Trump administration during the launch event, or would it rather not risk a possible bitter Twitter salvo from Trump clouding the launch?

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